Parenting trends come and go, with psychologists, childminders, and other experts constantly coming up with new techniques for nurturing and disciplining children.
But while modern techniques like the naughty step and the reward chart were once the parenting trends of the moment, one of the newest popular tools, the Feelings Wheel, was actually first designed in the 1980s – and is now experiencing a revival.
As some millennial parents move toward “positive parenting” that promotes understanding bad behavior rather than strict discipline, the Feeling Wheel is used to help children identify their emotions — and at its symposium on Early childhood on Wednesday, the Princess of Wales revealed that millennial-aged Prince Louis is using the device with his classmates at Lambrook School.
The concept features a pie chart that shows a range of different human emotions and also shows how each feeling is connected to other feelings. It also groups smaller feelings under a larger umbrella, from anger and contempt to joy and love.
Psychologist Robert Plutchik, a professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in South Florida, created the wheel and established that human beings experience eight basic emotions: joy, trust, fear, surprise, sadness, anticipation, anger and disgust.
The Feeling Wheel, or Emotion Wheel, was designed by psychologist Robert Plutchik in the 1980s — and it’s enjoying a revival among hip parents.
These core feelings can then intensify or become milder, and every emotion has a polar opposite.
He created a wheel that captures all of this as a tool to help us improve our “emotional intelligence” – a concept that today, four decades later, has garnered hundreds of thousands of hits on Instagram and a cohort of famous fans .
When Plutchik first designed the Wheel of Feelings in 1980, it was originally intended for adults rather than children.
With actresses like Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Aniston encouraging us to be more aware of our feelings in order to conquer the tough ones, the wheel’s ability to help us identify and measure them is hot.
The Princess of Wales revealed yesterday that Prince Louis, 5, used a feelings wheel at school with his classmates.
Although there is no quick and easy way to use his wheel, Dr. Plutchik’s lovely diagram is intended to help us take a timely measurement of our emotional temperature.
By determining precisely how we feel at any given moment, we can observe whether, over time, regular patterns emerge, and then understand what the triggers are so that we can change our behavior accordingly, rather than reacting in a state of stress.
Simplified versions of the wheel are now popular in primary schools across the UK.
Mentally Healthy Schools has produced its own version of the wheel for younger learners, which it says should be used for children aged four to 11.
The organization recommends using the wheel several times during the day so that students can understand how their emotions evolve and learn the triggers that cause certain emotions.
The revival of the feeling wheel in modern parenting coincides with a deeper understanding of emotions and a move away from authoritarian, disciplinary parenting.
In particular, feeling wheels can be associated with positive parenting, which embraces the mantra that you should support children by guiding them, mapping their thoughts and feelings, and brainstorming.
Positive Parenting Solutions, which contains resources that encourage people to become parents without getting angry or harassing their children, says the Feeling Wheel can be used to identify the root causes of a child’s bad behavior.
A blog post on the site explains: “Positive parenting emphasizes that children who misbehave are not bad. Instead, they lack the skills to manage their emotions.
He continues to explain how you and your children can use the Feelings Wheel to identify the emotion being felt and understand the corresponding emotions that accompany it.
This method allows the parent to address the problem causing the bad behavior rather than resorting to strict sanctions.